tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS March 22, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
tripoli vowing to fight on and telling supporters he will win and will not surrendered. qaddafi's forces kept up their attacks on civilians today in a number of cities held by rebels. but president obama said the allied operation has already saved civilian lives. still to be decided, though, is who will lead the operation when the u.s. steps back in the days ahead, though nato is expected to play a major role. meanwhile, a u.s. air force fighter jet crashed today in eastern libya. the two men on board ejected and were rescued. a cbs news poll out tonight finds most americans are following the events in libya closely and nearly seven out of ten approve of the air strikes. mandy clark begins our coverage from the scene of that fighter jet crash. >> reporter: this is all that remains of the american f-15e that went down last night. a steady stream of people came to have a look. saleh saeed saleh, a local
farmer, was eager to show us the wreckage. when it it this ground he says it sounded like a rocket exploding. he thought qaddafi's forces were on the attack. officials say the fighter jet crashed because of a mechanical error rather than any enemy fire. it landed east of benghazi which is in the heart of rebel territory. the jet's crew ejected safely. were they okay? were they injured? "the person i saw had minor injuries, just scratches" he says. one of the americans landed in a nearby field. "we gave him food and juice. he was nervous at first" saleh says "but we took care of him and brought him to safety." a marine corps osprey picked up the pilot but somehow libyans helping the crew were mistaken as a threat. they say the rescue aircraft opened fire. this man was shot. he said he was trying to help the second american when he was hit. "we would have picked him up and
brought him wherever he wanted" he says. his son was also injured and may lose his leg. but he still supports the americans. along with most people here who say they're simply grateful for the help fighting qaddafi's army. the weapons officer was taken by libyans to benghazi where he managed to establish phone contact with his headquarters. it's not clear how he got to benghazi and into the hands of u.s. forces. katie? >> couric: mandy, are the rebels saying they believe these air strikes are really making a difference in the bat against qaddafi forces? >> yes, and they want to see more air strikes on government forces because they believe the no-fly zone is simply not enough to stop qaddafi's forces attacking the population. >> couric: mandy clark, mandy, thank you. as allied attacks continued tonight, loud explosions were heard in tripoli along with the sound of libyan antiaircraft fire. earlier, market phillips was among reporters taken by the
libyan government to survey last night's damage. >> reporter: when it goes bang in the night in libya, this is what it looks like the morning after. much of a naval base in tripoli harbor reduced to twisted smoking wreckage. the libyans said six bombs were dropped on what they insist was just a storage and repair facility, but at least three double missile transporter vehicles were destroyed here and a clutch of soviet-era vintage rockets was stored in a corner. rocket storage? >> just for repair. not working. not working. >> reporter: just to repair rockets? >> yeah, not working. it's not working. >> reporter: the libyans allowed access to this devastation to complain that the u.n. mandate to protect civilians is being turned, they say, into a war against the qaddafi regime. even targeting his navy, a navy the rebels say qaddafi has used to shell towns they were holding. the regime is portraying itself as a victim of these attacks,
but it's a gamble because they also show its weakness-- that even moammar qaddafi is not as powerful as he claims to be even within libya. his forces, though, appeared to be carrying out more attacks despite their announced cease-fire. watch what happens to this crowd which the rebels say had gathered in misurata. but at the naval base, the libyans say, they expected to be hit which is why no one was here when the bombs fell. you were worried? >> yeah, yeah. >> reporter: the ships were not hit. >> no. only this place. i don't know, maybe tomorrow the ships will. >> reporter: the air strikes have now hit qaddafi's air defenses, his air force, his army, and now his navy. and as control of the no-fly zone is tightened, allied commanders say they'll attack his forces even more. katie? >> couric: and mark you've been speaking with qaddafi loyalists in tripoli. how nervous are they?
>> reporter: there is a growing sense of anxiety, even they will say so. we're now into the fourth night of these attacks. it's significant, i think, that he actually appeared on t.v. in person in vision, the first time since these attacks began perhaps to reassure his supporters. >> couric: mark phillips in tripoli tonight. mark, thank you. meanwhile, the wave of unrest continues throughout the middle east. in cairo today it was the police protesting. they want higher pay. as they demonstrated outside the interior ministry, a fire broke out on the upper floors and a security official accused them of starting it. in yemen's capital, protestors again demanded that the president step down. today he promised to leave at the end of the year but they want him out now. when he does leave, the u.s. will lose a major ally in the fight against al qaeda. and in syria, the governor of a southern province was fired today after security forces killed seven antigovernment protestors over the weekend.
meanwhile, in this country, there's been some confusion and a lot of debate about u.s. goals in libya. some questioning whether we should even be there. more on that from wyatt andrews. >> reporter: after scores of cruise missile and bombing attacks, the president still calls the u.s. mission in libya humanitarian with the goal of stopping qaddafi from attacking his own people. >> not only was he carrying out murders of civilians but he threatened more. >> reporter: that's also what the u.n. authorized. all necessary measures to protect libyan civilians. however, the real goal in libya is the downfall, death, or departure of moammar qaddafi. it's what the europeans want, what most arab countries want, and what the president wants. >> i also have stated that it is u.s. policy that qaddafi needs to go. >> reporter: all of which means america is fighting in yet another muslim country.
but this time with the unusual support of most of the arab world. >> the arab public for the first time is open to american intervention. >> reporter: university of maryland professor shibley telhami takes opinion polls in arab countries. because qaddafi threatens and embarrasses most arabs, telhami calls this a one-of-a-kind moment for the president to build arab good will. how important is success in libya? >> very important. success in libya is essential and it does mean in the end seeing the qaddafi regime change >> reporter: regime change in libya is also important to the protest marchers on every arab street. after peaceful protests took down two dictators-- first in tunisia then egypt-- qaddafi changed tactics and made war on the crowds. since then, shooting the protestors has been the rule. government crackdowns have killed at least seven protestors
in syria, 20 in bahrain, and some 40 demonstrators in yemen. many fear that if qaddafi survives and clings to power his way wins. >> because what will happen is that a lot of other governments may draw the same lessons as qaddafi, which is shoot the people. >> reporter: but confronting qaddafi also highlights what some see as a double standard. the u.s. is protecting the civilians in libya but not the protestors against allied regimes in yemen and bahrain. the u.s. is staying close to yemen because the same regime that's killing protestors is keeping the lid on al qaeda. >> we consider al qaeda in the arabian peninsula-- which is largely located in yemen-- to be perhaps the most dangerous. >> reporter: overall, the administration wants to be in front of the arab awakening and the quickest way there is through the showdown with qaddafi. wyatt andrews, cbs news, washington. >> couric: now to japan. a u.n. expert says radiation continues to leak from those
damaged nuclear reactors but progress is being made. all six reactors are now hooked up to power lines-- a step toward getting the cooling systems working once the electricity is turned on the number of workers at the plant is now up to a thousand. meanwhile, the official death toll from the earthquake and tsunami is approaching 10,000 with nearly 14,000 missing. more than a quarter million survivors have no homes or have been forced to leave them. from japan tonight, here's lucy craft. >> reporter: cardboard houses now home for thousands living on the floor of a sports arena outside tokyo. all survived the tsunami and quake only to be caught up in a radiation scare. this fifth grader says "we escaped to my school but when they said even that was not safe, we came here." natives of iwaki like to boast about its postcard scenery and
mild climate. the now notorious fukushima nuclear plant only 30 miles away has triggered a mass exodus. "from all sides everyone kept telling us get out of here" says this beautician. "so we headed for tokyo." these are japan's nuclear refugees. after facing an unprecedented three disasters, they've come here for food, for warmth, for help. "i do feel betrayed" she says. "they kept telling us the plant was safe but they were leading us on all this time." and yet anger and bitterness are not the operative emotions here. hope and empathy are. she says "if getting angry would make things better or make us happier then we would. but instead of getting mad, it's better to help each other out." "we have to stay focused on the recovery" says this mother of two. "that's what we're all thinking about."
these are the survivors. it's estimated more than 20,000 others will not have been so lucky. amazing grace... ♪ >> reporter: so kindness and cooperation are the anthem of strength. the saving grace of refugees whose ordeal has really just begun. lucy craft, cbs news, tokyo. >> couric: more now from our new cbs news poll out tonight. about half of americans say they're concerned about radiation from japan reaching the united states. about seven in ten say they believe nuclear power plants here in the u.s. are generally safe but more than six in ten don't want one built near where they live. and 58% say the u.s. government is not prepared for a nuclear accident. and then there's the risk posed by nuclear waste. when we come back, what to do with tons and tons of spent fuel rods.
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national correspondent jim axelrod has more. >> reporter: taking the lead on a major problem for many states, south carolina and washington state went to court today demanding the n.r.c. provide a place to permanently store highly radioactive waste. >> i think the problem is demonstrated by the recent events in japan is that storing it near communities is great while it works but it's something... if something goes wrong people are exposed to great risk. >> reporter: the storage tanks were never meant to be a permanent solution. the nation's oldest operating reactor, oyster creek in new jersey, has stored some spent fuel for 41 years. 20 years longer than expected. >> the federal government has failed the american public by not dealing with spent nuclear fuel for decades. the next nuclear facility built in the united states should be a repository rather than more nuclear power plants that contribute more spent fuel to the waste that we've not been able to solve for decades. >> reporter: an estimated 66,000 metric tons of spent fuel are stored at 77 sites around
the country. that's more than 145 million pounds. picture this entire field covered in spent fuel rods. then piled seven yards high. currently, 2,000 metric tons are added each year. that crowds the tanks, making them less efficient at reducing radioactivity. >> people want the benefits of nuclear power and they want to pretend there's no safety risk and, of course, human beings are fallible. there's always a safety risk. >> reporter: plans to make yucca mountain in nevada a long-term storage site were scuttled by the obama administration a year ago after 20 years of planning costing $14 billion. >> right now we are looking at a longer time frame for storage of spent fuel than we have in the past. but right now we believe that spent fuel certainly can be stored safely and securely with the existing system. >> reporter: the head of the n.r.c. may not see a pressing
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>> couric: a big shot in the arm today for a planned medical school in kalamazoo, michigan. a group of anonymous donors has given $100 million to western michigan university to help open the school by 2014. in san francisco, home run king barry bonds is on trial for perjury. his lawyer told the federal jury today that bonds now admits using steroids during his baseball career. but he said bonds didn't know it at the time, claiming his personal trainer told him he was taking flaxseed oil and arthritis cream. the prosecutor called that ridiculous. now to a simpler time long before sluggers bulked up on steroids. some rare film has surfaced of babe ruth and lou gehrig. they're seen posing with fans in sioux city, iowa, during a barnstorming tour in october of 1927 just days after their team, the new york yankees, won the world series. the 16 millimeter film was tucked away for decades and found by an antiques dealer
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challenging. only 42% of american college students actually graduate. today vice president biden announced $20 million in grants to help states improve that number and michelle miller reports some colleges are tackling the problem head on. >> there there's russell sheppard. >> reporter: russell shepard, a wide receiver at louisiana state university, answers to about a dozen coaches on the field. off the field... >> how many of you gentlemen are prepared? >> reporter: ...his coaching staff is even larger. >> it's important. the learning specialist, the strategy tutors we have they keep us on task. >> reporter: but many l.s.u. students steer off course. only 59% make it to the goal line and graduate. >> i just felt like i failed. >> reporter: kendall loftkus graduated high school with honors, but the baton rouge native says by the end of her freshman year... >> i just felt like since i wasn't doing good i just kind of gave up.
>> reporter: you gave up? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: is that hard to admit? >> yeah. >> reporter: why? >> because i feel like i let my parents and myself down. >> for an institution like that to get only six out of ten of them through is insane. >> reporter: katie haycock heads up a research organization that tracks college graduation rates. >> they assumed their responsibility ends at letting students in and if students figure out what to do they'll succeed and if they don't; they don't. >> reporter: l.s.u. is hardly alone. graduate rates are equally low at other well-known schools, including schools in the pacific ten, the southeastern conference and the big 12. would you call this a crisis? >> absolutely. >> reporter: dr. saundra mcguire is a vase chancellor in charge of academics at l.s.u . she says some kids are dropping out because of financial and personal reasons
but she says there's a bigger problem. >> they don't have study skills and learning strategies and so many of them give up when they encounter difficulty. >> institutions that really succeed do that. they don't just track their graduation rates. they track what's happening to students in the first week, in the first month, when their attendance falls off or when their home work doesn't get turned in. they act aggressively in that moment. >> reporter: the university of maryland used that approach to significantly raise their graduation rate over the last decade. from 60% to 82%. it happened with smaller class sizes, mandatory tutors, and courses tailored to their students' needs. >> our job is to provide students with degrees. it's not to weed out those we don't think are capable of doing it. >> reporter: it's the kind of help russell shepard received as a football player at l.s.u. >> my mom told me "don't come back home. you can come back home not playing football but don't come
back to houston, texas, without a degree." >> reporter: as for kendall loftkus, she started over taking classes at a local community college. do you worry about not getting a college degree? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: why? >> because most jobs now, like, even people with bachelor's degrees can't even get a job. and so that's kind of hard. >> reporter: she's trying to keep the promise she made to her mother that one day she will earn that diploma. michelle miller, cbs news, baton rouge, louisiana. >> couric: and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
henson, once you get through that big n' toasty, we're going to go over sales figures, complete this merger, present to the board and do a number of other seemingly impossible tasks today. it's going to be a big one. sink your teeth into some egg, bacon and cheese and nod if you understand. good. you've got spunk.
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